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Food Prices and Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Young American Adults

Powell LM, Zhao Z and Wang Y. Health and Place, 15(4): 1064-1070, 2009.

Multivariate negative binomial count models were estimated to examine associations between young adults’ fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption and the prices of FV, other food at home grocery items, and fast food and the availability of restaurants and food stores. This study used the 2002 wave of data collected from US young adults aged 18-23 years in the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth merged by geocode identifiers with food prices and restaurant and food store availability. The results showed that higher levels of FV consumption were associated with lower FV prices (price elasticity of -0.32) and that this own-price effect was robust to the inclusion of other food prices and food outlet availability. Lower income and lower educated young adults and those with lower educated mothers and middle income parents were found to be most price sensitive. No statistically significant cross- price effects on FV consumption were found with other grocery food (meat, dairy and bread) prices or fast food prices. Fiscal policy instruments such as FV subsidies may help to increase FV intake, particularly among young adults of lower socioeconomic status.

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